ideas for diy pilothouse addition?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by peterchech, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. bpw
    Joined: May 2012
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    bpw Senior Member

    If it is too light to walk on I don't see much advantage over (the much lighter) canvas dodger.
  2. Steve W
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Steve W Senior Member

    To me if you are a person who actually folds their dodger down from time to time then soft is the way to go, otherwise hard dodgers are very nice, i agree though i personally make them so you can walk on them and it is easy with a cored structure and still be light weight. The factory dodger on my Gemini catamaran is way too flimsy to walk on and i plan on cutting the top off and making a new,much longer one that you can walk on and mount solar panels on.and close in with canvaswork.

  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    With some thought, a hardtop could be made to fold down over the cabin roof, maybe with side curtains.
  4. peterchech
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    peterchech Senior Member

    What about an acrylic dome over the companionway hatch, a la moitessier? Could this be a simple, if not quite as nice, solution to extend the season?


    Not sure how well this would work when the boat is heeled though...
  5. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Similar to the Whitbread round the world race sliding hatch dodgers. You might be able to incorperate the concept into a canvas cockpit cover design

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  6. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I guess it depends on what you mean by a 'pilothouse'.

    If you mean something you can stand up in to steer the boat, 25 ft is way too small.

    If you mean a place where you can steer the boat, without getting rained on or sunburned, that is a different matter

    You can have something that used to be known as a 'dog house'.

    It was usually an extension of the cabin aft. Maybe just one butt width with a bulkhead behind it. This extension would have a cabin top that was higher than the main cabin ( to get at least sitting height above the cockpit seat), with a forward facing window. A wheel or an endless line was then added, so you could steer the boat from this tiny shelter.

    This gobbles up some cockpit area, for sure. But I think cockpit area can be over rated. You could build this thing with no bulkhead and just curtain at it's aft end, so on nice weather days, you can still stretch out on the cockpit seat.

    Or you can move the steering station inside the main cabin, remove the companionway hatch, and build a smaller dog house there. You can then install a door in place of the sliding slats and a hinged hatch on top.
    Steering would be from a seat built into the companionway steps.

    Both approaches make the boat less streamlined, but don't necessarily have to be ugly.

    They can keep you out of the weather most of the time, especially on long tacks.

    The trick, I think, is to keep the aesthetics reasonable and not get too fancy with the controls. I would bring just the steering inside, because that's what I would be doing most of the time anyway.

    The engine throttle and clutch, and the sail handling sheets could stay outside.

  7. rclouise
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    rclouise Junior Member

    When my wife and I decided on buying a new long range cruising boat to replace our Mason 44 that had a canvas dodger we wanted a hard dodger/pilot house. We decided on the Boreal 44, not only because of the hard dodger but that style of hard dodger played a big part in the purchase.

    Though the boat was designed with northern lats in mind and we are tropical sailors we feel that style of hard dodger is perfect for us. We have found that even in the tropics and sailing mostly short handed that night watch can be cool, wet and unpleasant at times with no place to get out of the elements. We are convinced that we will be far more alert on watch when sitting in the water tight doghouse and being dry and warm.

    The Boreal design is not a pilot house but as close to one as we think you can get with good 360 degree viewing and a full nav station within. We can also do some minor steering from the doghouse with the remote from our NKE auto pilot. We can make changes with slight wind changes on broad reaches without going out side to re trim sails. I assume we can steer inside the dog house while on passage and under engine power with the remote as well if we had too. We do not plan on doing much of this as we will have a wind vane as well and use it while under most conditions of sail.

    But in all we are excited to have such a design when it comes to the doghouse/hard dodger concept.
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